SIPTU members in the community sector are to ballot for industrial action following the refusal of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to engage with them on issues including redundancy and the transfer of undertakings. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said: “Local Development Companies (LDCs) were informed today (Monday, 2nd March) whether they had won a contract to provide services under the Social Inclusion and Activation Programme (SICAP). At least five LDCs did not succeed in this tendering process, which will give rise to a range of industrial relations issues involving redundancies and the transfer of undertakings. “To date, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has refused to meaningfully engage with community workers and their union on the major industrial relations issues that have emerged from this process. This is despite a Labour Court recommendation that the Department should engage. In response, workers have been left with no option but to ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action.” SIPTU Activist Donie O’Leary said: “Community workers in at least five organisations are now facing redundancy and the officials who created this situation won’t engage meaningfully with their union. The Department needs to step up and start talking to those who deliver its programmes.”   SIPTU Sector Organiser Darragh O’Connor said: “The SICAP tendering process has put community organisations in direct competition with each other for no obvious benefit. Indeed, it goes against the inclusive and co-operative ethos of the community sector. To add insult to injury the Department overseeing this process has also refused to meet with workers. It is an intolerable situation that must be brought to an end.”